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11/05/2005 - Do Mobile Phone Chips Really Work?

There are currently seem to be a wave of products in the open market that claim to neutralise harmful effects from your mobile phone whilst not affecting their efficiency. We recently reviewed one such product by a company called Willautronic (marketing in Germany and Australia mainly) which we believe very strongly to have no EMF protective effects, and have good reason to believe most of these to be equally ineffective. As we have had quite a few questions from customers about whether they should buy these products, it seemed appropriate to write a simple procedural guide on what to watch out for.

Summary

We would love there to be a nice simple solution to prevent adverse health effects from mobile phones, phone masts and suchlike, but the truth is these things simply do not exist. It is sad that people seem insistent on earning a "quick buck" by exploiting people's desire to feel better, but it seems that human greed drives them to do so. Unfortunately it seems to come down to the age-old adage: "If it seems too good to be true, it probably is".

1. Reselling

If the company appears to be promoting having you sell the product on and make a saving, as a good way of earning money, alarm bells should instantly be ringing. It is worth bearing in mind that under the network marketing schemes, your success as a seller will earn them money, and therefore this is likely to be a heavy motivation. Not that this means the product is definitely no good, but it needs to be born in mind that the main incentive for the product is more likely to be financial than health related.

2. Disclaimers

Be aware of any retraction of claims of how good their product is. An example is here taken straight from a BioPro seller's website:

"These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. The products and/or technologies listed are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease."

As they claim that the technologies are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease, they are saying that the products are not even designed to work. Under the circumstances, if it doesn't work it sounds like they have a good get-out clause to avoid any responsibility

3. How it works

Any product should be able to give good scientific evidence as to what it does and how it does it. Saying it cancels EMF radiation is all very good, but you should be asking "what exactly does it do?", "how exactly does it do it?", and "where is the scientific background that this mechanism actually works?" - the chances are you will certainly not be able to answer these questions. Most places, like the Willautronic website, completely avoid talking about the science or related technological principles which could give rise to the outcomes that they claim. If by any chance you are provided with answers to all these, check them out with their source to make sure everything adds up by researching their points elsewhere on the internet.

4. Scientific Evidence

Published Science papers are public domain, and therefore any company saying that they won't release their sources over copyright or intellectual property reasons are almost definitely hiding the fact that they don't actually have any to release anyway. This also means that any company trying to use studies, reports or papers as evidence for their product have no excuse for not disclosing where the study / paper has been published, and either host a copy or alternatively provide information with how to see the full study for yourself. If there is no published study, there is no peer-reviewal process, and therefore no guarantee that any mentioned experiments / tests have been performed with any scientific basis. An example of a typical "scam" scientific proof is that shown on most of the "BioPro" sites (see under "Scientific Tests Prove That The BIOPRO Chips Really Work!"):

This shows a supposed study from a Dr. Braun, of the Reseach Institute for Vital Energetics. There is no link to the study that the summary is supposed to be summarising. There is no data saying how many people were tested, no scientific methodology, and no description of jargonised terms such as "t-Test". The second paragraph states of a statistical verification, but there is nothing to say what this was or how it was performed. There is no quantified definition of "a significant stabilization" in the third paragraph, nor what the supposed "identical parameters" were. There are no tables of data or any obvious pieces of information to come to the conclusions stated in the last paragraph. They site a "research institute for vital energetics", yet if you use Google to search for it, you will only find reference to it on BioPros sellers websites, which is not what you would expect to see if such a place really existed (which it may do, but it is certainly unlikely to be a large or well-known research institute).

This is followed by looking at "Stress Response" levels, which use arbitrary units and arbitrary guidelines to healthy and unhealthy levels. Not only does this mean that nothing they are showing is actually testable, but if they are going to assert an unhealthy level, you would expect to see a reference to a paper, journal or guideline that explains why this level is unhealthy, and what it means in real terms.

Even without the other points mentioned above, these references to the site on their own would be enough to make us completely discount the product.

5. Background knowledge

Finally, there is the usefulness of having reasonable background knowledge of the subject. For example, the phone communicates using pulsed Microwave radiation. It is not possible to eliminate any of the effects of this (potential or otherwise) without in turn eliminating the radiation itself (necessary for the phone to function). This is akin to expecting earplugs to prevent only the noise you don't want to hear but to leave the noise you do want to hear alone. You either have the noise or you don't, you can't "eat your cake and have it" so to speak.